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Kent M Fitzsimmons

Military

24-Jul-42 Assigned to B-17F 42-24579 'Thumper" 303BG/360BS as a Co-Pilot during Group Advanced Training at Alamogordo, New Mexico. 16-Oct-42 Arrived with B-17F 42-24579 'Thumper" aircraft at Molesworth, UK. Flew as Co-Pilot on his missions #1 -5 on "Thumper'; Also flew as Co-Pilot on B-17F 42-5262 (Plocher - mission #7); B-17F 42-2973 'Iza Vailable' (Bilek - mission #8); B-17F 42-5260 (Farrar - mission #9); and B-17F 42-24559 'Ooold Soldier' Bartlett - missions #10 #11). Flew 11 operations and credited with 10 Missions.

Participated in 11 Operations (4 were Aborted) See Biography events

On 23 January 1943, (Mission # 6) in B-17F 41-24579 'Thumper', 303BG/360BS while serving as Co-Pilot the aircraft received battle damage on mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France but managed to make it back to England. Eight crew members and a photographer baled out and one man was killed (KOM) and two men were Wounded in Action (WIA). The pilot and co-pilot landed wheels-up at Lulsgate Bottom airfield near Bristol. No MACR issued.

On 31-Mar-43 (Mission #11) in B-17F 41-29559 'Oooold Soljer' while serving as Co-Pilot the aircraft was despatched with twenty others from Molesworth between 0935 hrs and 0946 hrs on a mission to bomb the port facilities at Rotterdam, Holland. The formation was led by Col Romig. At 1020 hrs a mid-air collision occurred between B-17F 41-24559 and B-17F 42-29573 'Two Beauts' 303BG/358BS in 10/10ths cloud near Wellingborough. A/c 559 lost its right wing from the No 4 engine outboard. Both aircraft crashed at Mears Ashby, killing eight crew in a/c 559 and 7 in a/c 573. A total of 5 airmen were able to bale out of the stricken aircraft. 1st Lieutenant Fitzsimmons was killed in the collision. No MACR issued. 303rd Bomb Group website reports a memorial to the two crews is at Mears Ashby, UK.

DFC, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Service

Units served with

  • 303rd Bomb Group

    303rd Bomb Group

    Group
    The 303rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3-Feb-1942 at Pendleton Field, Oregon. They assembled at Gowen Field, Idaho on 11-February 1942 where it conducted flight training until 12-Jun-1942. The Group then moved to Alamogordo Field, New...

  • 360th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 41-24559 Ooold Soljer

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24559 'Ooold Soljer' was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-C] Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42. ...

  • 41-24579 Thumper

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    B-17F 41-24579 "Thumper" was assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-F] 17-Feb-42 Gowen Field, Idaho; Bangor 14-Oct-42; Molesworth 16-Oct-42; Aircraft damaged by AA fire and enemy fighters on mission to Lorient, France on 23-Jan-43. 11 man crew. Belly-landed at...

  • 42-2973 IZA VAILABLE

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Assigned 360BS/303BG [PU-G] Presque Is 27/11/42; Molesworth 13/12/42; Returned to the USA 2/7/44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Arledge 22/11/44. IZA VAILABLE.

  • 42-5260 Yardbird II

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 26/10/42; Salina 15/12/42. ...

Missions

  • VIII Bomber Command 20

    17 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 49 B-17s despatched from 91BG (20), 303BG (16) and 306BG (13). Another element of 14 B-24s despatched from 93BG also joins the bombing force on St. Nazaire. The...

  • VIII Bomber Command 21

    18 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at Lorient and La Pallice, France are the Primary (P) targets for this mission. However, those at St. Nazaire, France are attacked by 21 B-17s of 303BG when they are mistaken for those of Lorient. The force attacking Lorient is composed...

  • VIII Bomber Command 23

    23 November 1942
    The U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France are the Primary (P) for this mission. A combined force of 50 B-17s despatched from 91BG (10), 303BG (12), 305BG (20) and 306BG (8) to attack this target. 91BG is not able to put any of their group on the target,...

  • VIII Bomber Command 24

    6 December 1942
    The German airfield of Drucat at Abbeville, France is the primary target for 19 B-24s despatched from 44th Bomb Group but are recalled. One squadron of 6 does not hear the recall and proceeds to the target, 1 B-24 MIA. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 26

    20 December 1942
    The German Air Depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France is the Primary (P) target for a combined force of 80 B-17s despatched by 91BG (17), 303BG (21); 305BG (23) and 306BG (19). 60 B-17 are effective on the target, but 7 are MIA and 1 is DBR. ...

  • VIII Bomber Command 30

    23 January 1943
    The port area and U-Boat pens at Lorient, France are the primary target for this mission. 305th Bombardment Group is selected as the lead group, but condensation on the bombsight of the lead aircraft in the Group prevents the 305BG from bombing Lorient...

  • VIII Bomber Command 34

    14 February 1943
    The marshalling yards at Hamm, Germany are once again slated at the primary target for this mission. A force of 74 B-17s are despatched: 91BG (20); 303BG (17); 305BG (17); 306BG (20), but weather once again forces the mission to be recalled before...

  • VIII Bomber Command 37

    26 February 1943
    After 10 days of weather related delays of the bomber offensive, a mission is organised with the port facilities of Emden, Germany as the primary target. However, Emden is obscured by cloud cover and all formations divert to attack the port facilities...

  • VIII Bomber Command 42

    12 March 1943
    The railroad marshalling yards at Rouen/Sotteville, France is the primary target for 72 B-17s. 91BG (18); 303BG (18) ; 305BG (17) and 306BG (19). Of this formation, 63 are effective on the target. There are no aircraft losses or claims on enemy...

  • VIII Bomber Command 46

    22 March 1943
    The U-Boat pens and harbour facilities at Wilhelmshaven, Germany are the primary target for this mission. 76 B-17's are despatched: 91BG (21); 303BG (18); 305BG (18); and 306BG (19). These are joined by 26 B-24's: 44BG (12) and 93BG (14). Of this force...

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Associated Place

  • Molesworth

    Military site : airfield
    Molesworth was one of the early stations used by the Eighth Air Force in the UK, first occupied by the 15th Bomb Squadron’s Douglas Bostons in June 1942. Built in 1940 and extended and improved in 1942, Molesworth is most associated with the 303rd...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Bent County, Colorado
Assigned to Group Alamogordo, NM 88310, USA 24 July 1942

Assigned to 303BG/360BS with aircraft B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper" as Co-Pilot in advanced training at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Station Assigment Molesworth, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE28, UK 16 October 1942 – 31 March 1943

Stationed with 303rd Bomb Group at Molesworth, UK.

Mission # 1, 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24579 303BG/360BS - Aborted Saint-Nazaire, France 17 November 1942

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper" 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. Aircraft aborted mission. Reason not documented in Mission Report.

Mission # 2, 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons w/B-17F 41-24579 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 18 November 1942

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper" 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission # 3, 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS Saint-Nazaire, France 23 November 1942

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper"on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire, France. RTB OK.

Mission #4 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons w/B-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Lille, France 6 December 1942

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper: 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the carriage and wagon works at Lille France. Aircraft aborted mission. Reason not documented in Mission Report.

Mission #5, 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24579, 303BG/360BS Romilly-sur-Seine, France 20 December 1942

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the German air depot at Romilly-sur-Seine, France. . RTB OK.

Mission #6, 2LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24579 303BG/360BS Lorient, France 23 January 1943

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-24579 "Thumper"on a mission to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, France. Aircraft RTB with hydraulics and 2 engines out. Belly landed at Lusgate Bottom, UK. 1KIA 2WIA 7RTD. RTB OK.

Mission #7, 1LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons w/B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS - Aborted Hamm, Germany 14 February 1943

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-5262, 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb industrial targets at Hamm, Germany, but severe weather forced Wing Command to recall the entire 303BG formation. RTB OK.

Mission #8, 1LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 42-2973 303BG/360BS - Aborted Wilhelmshaven, Germany 26 February 1943

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-2973 "Iza Vailable", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb U-Boat pens at Wilhelmshaven Germany. Aborted because ball turret electrical heating system malfunctioned. RTB OK.

Mission #9, 1LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 42-5260 303BG/360BS Rouen, France 12 March 1943

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 42-5260 "Yardbird", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the railroad marshalling yards at Rouen, France. RTB OK

Mission #10, 1LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS Wilhelmshaven, Germany 22 March 1943

Served as Co-Pilot of B-17F 41-24559 "Ooold Soldier", 303BG/360BS on a mission to bomb the port area of Wilhelmshaven, Germany. RTB OK

Mission #11, 1LT Kent M. Fitzsimmons, w/B-17F 41-24559, 303BG/360BS (KOM) Mears Ashby, Northampton, Northamptonshire NN6, UK 31 March 1943

Killed when his aircraft B-17F 14-24559 "Ooold Soljer", 303BG/360BS sustained a mid-air collision with B-17F 42-29573 "Two Beauts", 303BG/358BS over Mears Ashby, UK. The aircraft were on a mission to bomb the Wilton Shipyards at Rotterdam, Holland. KOM

Buried 1945

Buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery, Plot D, Row 1, Grave 73

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2016 16:52:29 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-May-2016. Completed entry by adding mission paricipations statement to Summary Biography pere 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 20:09:12 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 25-Feb-43. Added recall info to Mission #7 note pere 303BG records http://www.303rdbg.com

Date Contributor Update
01 February 2016 23:20:16 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 1-Feb-2016. Edited Mission events with his name and rank, added target info to notes for consistency with or 303BG losses per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian, http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 22:52:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Aircraft he served in to Description per 303BG website Mission Reports, Gary Moncur, Historian.:http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 22:38:46 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Finalizing Descritption and Mission connections from analysis of 303BG website Mission Reports associated with this airman, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 22:33:06 Lee8thbuff Changes to events, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Mission #9 and reconciled 11 missions per 303BG Mission Reports, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/022.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 21:38:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015 Added Mission # 9 event per 303BG website Mission Report of 22-Mar-43, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/025.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 21:28:13 Lee8thbuff Changes to events, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Mission #8 evenr per 303BG website Mission Report of 12-Mar-43, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/022.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 21:15:21 Lee8thbuff Changes to events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Mission #7 event per 303BG website Mission Report of 26-Feb-43, Gray Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 21:00:31 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015 Added Mission #6 event per 303BG website Mission Report of 23-Jan-43, Gary Moncur, historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/011.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 20:49:06 Lee8thbuff Changes to events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015 Added Mission event #5 per 303BG website Mission Report of 20-Dec-42, Gray Moncur, historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/007.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 20:36:54 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Asssignment event per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, historian; Added Station Assignment date based on aircraft arrival and MIA date, "The B-17 Flying Fortress Story", Roger A. Freeman with David Osborne.

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 17:51:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and events
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Corrections to Mission dates.

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 17:48:49 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Added Mission connections and events per 303BG website Mission Reports, Gary Moncur, historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 16:55:45 Lee8thbuff Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Made connection to 42-2973 on 26-Feb-43 Mission per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/017.pdf

Date Contributor Update
21 July 2015 16:43:32 Lee8thbuff Changes to aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 21-Jul-2015. Made connection to 42-5262 on 14-Feb-43 Mission per 303BG website, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/015.pdf

Date Contributor Update
20 July 2015 22:47:47 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, events and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 20-Jul-2015 Added MISSION #1 event per 303BG Mission Report of 17-Nov-43, Gary Moncur, Historian: http://www.303rdbg.com/missionreports/001.pdf

Date Contributor Update
12 February 2015 19:58:39 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography, awards, events, place associations, aircraft associations and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 12-Feb-2015. Added decorations and Burial event per American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) record; SN, loss details and Biography based on 303rd Bomb Group website records.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:18:01 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Unit History; Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. 1 by Bishop and Hey p. 94, 66, 303rd web site, ABMC web site

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